I agree with sticking with the pork butt for your first smoke. You eliminate the extra variable (brisket) from the cooking method and how long it will actually take too cook.
I'd also recommend paying attention to the internal temp of the pork butt. See if pulling at 195 works for your tastes. I think Wal-Mart carries digital instant thermos for about 8 bucks.
Most importantly - enjoy the process! It's not always about the end result :)